Vila Nova de Milfontes

Jo’s Monday walk : Odemira, in the Alentejo

Rua Serpa Pinto in Odemira

Rua Serpa Pinto in Odemira

Curiosity often gets the better of me.  When I discovered, on my visit to Vila Nova de Milfontes at the mouth of the River Mira, that ‘Ode’ means river and that the small town of Odemira is situated a small way inland … well, I was curious.  The intention had been to follow the coast back down to the Algarve, sampling beaches along the way.  Well, we definitely did that, but a small side trip to Odemira was called for.

One of the attractions, mentioned in my ‘Rough Guide’, was a riverside walk.  That sounded appealing.  I also knew that there was a boat trip connecting Odemira with Vila Nova de Milfontes, but sadly that wasn’t practical on our way south.  There’s always time for a little stroll though.

This bridge was a good start!

This bridge was a good start point!

There were a few clouds, but not too many

There were a few clouds, but not too many

It was quite easy to park, on rough ground down by the river, and cross over the bridge to this peaceful little path, which we had all to ourselves.

Now which one of Jude's bench challenges would this one fit?

Now which one of Jude’s bench challenges would this one fit?

It's a nice enough view, isn't it?

It’s a nice enough view, isn’t it?

Sorry, Jude- not a person in sight!

Sorry, Jude- not a person in sight!

The riverside walk was shorter than I had expected, so there was plenty of time to saunter around the little town.  It seemed to me so typically Portuguese.  A mix of dilapidation and renewal.  There was scaffolding up at several of the larger buildings.  Freshly white-painted grandeur nudged sadly peeling properties, still awaiting their turn.  In the small, ‘sell everything’ shops, life continued as it must have for generations.  Just off the Praca da Republica, the main square, the coffee habit was indulged.  Shopping could wait.

Such a typical Portuguese street!

Such a typical Portuguese street!

An elegant fountain

The elegant town fountain

Before I know it, I’m passing a new-looking sculpture in a small square and a handful of modern shops.  Rather incongruous, but part and parcel of Portugal today.  In very little time I’m back at the river bank and the lovely bridge.  Too soon?

A modern square

The modern square

Our walk today was not at all taxing so feel free to stop en route for coffee.  You’ll easily find an appealing cafe.  I hope you enjoyed joining me. Later this week I’ll do a round up of those west coast beaches in the Alentejo, and then it’s full speed back to the Algarve.

If you’re in the area, Odemira is on the N393.  Travelling south from Vila Nova de Milfontes, you hopefully can’t miss it.

walking logo

Time to share this week’s walks.  Thank you very much everybody.  I’ve had a wonderful response.  If you’d like to join in there are a few hints on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.  I never turn anyone away.  Why would I?  Let’s get walking!

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You know I love to start with Drake.  This week he has some incredible views :

Austrian upstairs

And Geoff was quick off the mark too.  Blue skies in Tooting Bec?

Capital Ring : Tooting to Earlsfield

Our lovely Jude was lakeside walking this week.  There’s a bench, of course!

Park Life

Amy and Jude are sharing park life this week- thousands of miles apart.  Great minds! :

Monday Walk : Zilker Park

Jackie took me to Bantry Bay.  Some distant damp day memories for me :

Junkboat Travels: Monday Walk 

Did I ever tell you that I love squirrels?  Thanks, Becky!

Chipmunks, squirrels and a groundhog!

And how did Becky know I’ve always wanted to visit this place?

A Walk in the Cinque Terre

DON’T miss this one, or its sequel, from Pauline :

The magic of a dream come true 

The Buddha Walk at the Crystal Castle

Don’t you love it when they breathe new life into a place?  Many thanks for sharing, Kaz :

Travel Album: Distillery District, Toronto

There are few pleasures in life better than sharing with Meg :

Eurobodalla beaches: Congo beach south

And the landscape on this one is equally stunning!

Ancient Stone

Lastly, I’m extremely honoured to have this guy join us. He’s living a lifestyle many would consider idyllic (with the odd misadventure along the way)

Tampak Siring : Bathing in the Sacred Springs

Hope I haven’t missed anybody?  This past week was tricky but I’m still here.  The sun’s shining so you know what I’m going to do after coffee, don’t you?  Happy walking everyone!  See you next week?

Jo’s Monday walk : Vila Nova de Milfontes

Looking down from the castelo at Vila Nova de Milfontes

Looking down from the castelo of Vila Nova de Milfontes

I don’t know what it is about castles and beaches but they seem to me a very pleasing combination.  And the one above, in the Alentejo, isn’t the only one I found.  But we have to start somewhere so today I thought I’d take you over the Algarve border, and on up the western coastline of Portugal.  I have been to this area before but never so far as Vila Nova de Milfontes.

Situated at the mouth of the River Mira, the presence of the castle tells you that it was not always so peaceful here. Forte de São Clemente still has a drawbridge.  Dating back to 1485, the town had a key defensive role to play, and the wide estuary provided a safe harbour.  Today it’s not pirates we have to fear so much as tourists.  The town is part of the Southwest Alentejo and Costa Vicentina national park, which stretches all the way down the coast and into the Algarve.  As such it enjoys a good measure of protection, and development is largely low rise.

Not for nothing is this known as the windy coast, and in my short visit it was highly apparent that this could be a cool spot. (the wind sometimes whistled in the corners of my hotel)  But I also experienced some lovely sunshine, so let’s take a wander through the town.

We'll start here in the shade of the castle

We’ll start here in the shade of the castle

There’s a tiny square,  Praça da Barbacã, very atmospheric at night, which looks down on the ferry point.  A rather strange sculpture has pride of place.  It pays tribute to the role played locally in aviation between Portugal and Macau in the Far East.

This is the nicest part of town, as you wander gently uphill through a mix of older houses and new.  There’s a small, simple church and a few gift shops.  What appears to be a tiny cafe turns out to be a 3 storey Tardis, serving food to half the town, myself included!  I meander along, past ochre and immaculate blue and white, letting my eye drift, as it does.

But wait!  There are surprises in store.

I thought that there must be some kind of scarecrow festival going on, but this was the only evidence I found.  Just one ‘spooky’ street, with an interesting shop or two for delving.

Or a seahorse with attitude?

Maybe a seahorse with attitude?

This looks like a good place to stay

And on the street corner, a good-looking place to stay

Pausing, I look down to the right and catch a glimpse of water.  Like a magnet, I’m drawn.

Looking back you can see the road bridge spanning the River Mira which brings you into town, but ahead the estuary opens out. Locals race against the tide to winkle out errant shellfish. Beneath my feet, a shelf of lavishly coloured rock.

Gazing out to sea

Gazing out to sea

And here's the ferry point. It's lunch hour!

And here’s the ferry point, at lunch hour

A group of backpackers sit in the shade.  I wonder where they’re off to next.  It feels like a transient place, and I know that there are beaches aplenty, just waiting.

Time to mount the steps back to the castelo

Time to mount the steps back to the castelo- not too arduous!

And this is your reward!

And here you have your reward!

I hope you enjoyed our morning amble.  That fresh sea air always does me a power of good.  The resort has probably stayed so peaceful because it’s quite a distance from the nearest airport, Lisbon, and you would probably need to drive there.

Time to share some walks.  Got the kettle on?

walking logo

Some of these folks have had a long wait to be included this week, so apologies if you’ve already been there.  Please do visit them if you haven’t.  If you’d like to join in, details can be found on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo.  You’ll be very welcome.

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Let’s start the ball rolling with Bratislava.  Wouldn’t I love to accompany Debbie there?  This is SO pretty!

No Feeling Blue Here

Blue skies in the Shetlands for Anabel.  Lucky, or what?

Jarlshof to Sumburgh Head

Car boot sale anyone?  Actually Violet’s calling it a Farmer’s Market :

To market, to market

Random but very enjoyable rambles with Jackie and Frida Kahlo :

Monday’s Walk

Fairmont Banff Springs!  Sadly this luxury is not for me, but just look at Amy’s photos!

Monday Walk : Castle in the Wilderness (2)

Drake pays a wonderful tribute to ‘strong women’ :

The shades of Joan of Arc

And, in my absence, he took a little walk with the Beatles!

Nowhere walk

While Jaspa takes us strolling ‘down South America way’ :

The Streets of Santiago, Chile

Jill takes us for a fun wander (and I think there’s street art too)

Auckland City on a good day

What do Errol Flynn and Hobart have in common?  Find out with Ruth!

A walk around Battery Point

Fascination and excitement from the Southern hemisphere!  You’ll find it with Laia :

Rotorua: Maori culture and geothermal activity

And please welcome another ‘fit person’ to my walks.  You may have difficulty keeping up!

Memories of Ireland: Mount Brandon

Jude has excelled herself in my absence, with 3 new walks!  The most recent one unfortunately ended with a limp.

Garden Portrait : RHS Wisley part 1

Garden Portrait : RHS Wisley part 2

A painful memory or two here from Jude- suffering for her art!

Garden Portrait : Painshill Park

Unfortunately I won’t be walk leading next Monday as I’ll still be recovering from a Polish wedding.  I’m only gone a few days and hope to be back on track after that.  Seriously!  Meantime you might like to keep an eye on those lovely lasses at Monday Escapes.  Take care, and enjoy your walking!